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  • Phonsavan, Laos
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Priority: Low
Location Type: Destination
Phonsavan is the capital of Xieng Khouang province, the most heavily bombed area in Laos during the war, and the gateway to the mysterious Plain of Jars.
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Wikipedia - Phonsavan

Hills around Phonsavan, Laos
Hills around Phonsavan

Phonsavan (Lao: ໂພນສະຫວັນ) (population 37,507) is the new capital of Xieng Khouang Province, Laos. The name stands for "hills of paradise".
Phonsavan is the provincial capital of Xieng Khouang province. The long winding main street of Phonsavan looks like the setting of a David Lynch-inspired spaghetti western minus the tumbleweeds. However, upon leaving town the countryside is soon dominated by green hills and pine forests. Villages consist of colorful wooden houses. Cattle raising is one of the main agricultural activities and Hmong cowboys with brown and violet cowboy hats are a common sight. During Hmong New Year there are even bullfights in the city. Phonsavan was built in the late 1970s and replaced the old Xieng Khoung (today: Muang Khoun) which had been destroyed during the Second Indochina War.

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Wikitravel - Phonsavan

Its most famous attraction is the nearby Plain of Jars, which is to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status. The main economic activity in Phonsavanh is based on government administration, mining companies from China and Australia, tourism and the work of NGOs related to UXO clearance.
Phonsavanh is home to various ethnic groups, such as the Phuan, whose ancestors once founded the kingdom of the same name, the Hmong, which New Years celebrations in Xieng Khouang are famous throughout Laos, and the Khmu and Tai Dam. There is also a minority of Laotian Chinese and Vietnamese as well as some international workers and missionaries from Korea and the USA. Typical local products from Phonsavanh and the surrounding area are natural dyes and textiles each with individual pattern depending on the ethnic group, basketry, mulberry paper umbrellas, spoons made from war scrap or Hmong embroidery. A special drink is Mastake Whiskey made from Hed Wai, a highly valued mushroom from the pine forests of Xieng Khouang.

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